Brighton 2-0 West Ham United
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Sunday 5 September 2021
West Ham United suffered defeat on the opening day of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season, as they were beaten 2-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
Hawa Cissoko was sent off after the referee deemed her to have handled the ball whilst blocking a Seagulls shot on the line – with Inessa Kaagman converting from the resulting penalty.
Albion then doubled their lead, with Guenmin Lee converting from close range after the ball took an unfortunate bounce off of Grace Fisk.
The east London side performed admirably in the second half, but couldn’t find a goal to get themselves back into the game.
The Hammers started the contest in Sussex on the back foot – Kaagman lofting in a dangerous free-kick that was dealt with at the back post by Fisk.
Adriana Leon had West Ham United’s first chance of the game, as she raced in behind the backline on the counter attack, her effort on goal though was tame and comfortable for Megan Walsh in the Brighton goal.
In an even opening 15 minutes, the Hammers started to work the ball well – with another chance presenting itself to Leon, but her final pass couldn’t find a Claret & Blue shirt.
The pressure continued from the away side, with Leon sending a searching box into the area – Mel Filis connected but couldn’t steer her header on target.
The Canadian forward was at the heart of everything good for the Hammers in the opening 25 minutes – the 28-year-old almost found the net with what would have been an early goal of the season contender. Her whipped shot from considerable distance smashed off the upright, much to the relief of Walsh.
However, the game was turned on its head only seven minutes later. Cissoko was sent off after being adjudged to have stopped Kaagman’s shot with her arm. The Dutch midfielder converted from the subsequent spot kick to give the home side the lead.
And Brighton doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances. A long-range effort bounced up and into the face of Fisk, with the deflection taking it into the path of Guenmin Lee to fire beyond Arnold.
Gilly Flaherty went close minutes before the half-time whistle sounded, but the Hammers were left with it all to do at the break.
Brighton started the second half in the same fashion, Kaagman again going close from outside the area.
Harder’s side weren’t out of the contest just yet, and a system change saw the Irons go with two upfront, and Claudia Walker almost got the away side back in the game, but her effort flew over the top of the bar.
There was very little action of note in the early part of the half, with West Ham pushing forward to try and get back into the game and the home side looking to counter.
Lisa Evans went close to pulling a goal back, but her effort landed narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
And the Hammers continued to apply the pressure, this time Walker was the play to see her effort land agonizingly over the cross bar.
The east Londoners huffed and puffed to try and get back into the content, but Brighton reminded firm and claimed all three points.
West Ham United: Arnold, Wyne, Flaherty, Cissoko, Fisk (Parker 45), Evans, Stringer, Filis (Longhurst 45), Hasegawa, Leon, Walker.
Subs: Leat, Garrad, Cairns, Joel.
Red Card: Cissoko 33
Booked: Longhurst 55, Stringer 60